Every week (maybe twice a week) before and after the release of upcoming tribute album Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina, I will post a written word tribute or story to celebrate his life and music.
After seeing Barzin’s cover of Magnolia Electric Co’s “Blue Factory Flames”, I knew I had to include him in this project. The bio on Barzin’s website describes the singer-songwriter’s music as “slow and melancholic, introspective and confessional”. This descirption is could also be used when describe most of Jason’s music. This week Barzin recalls seeing Jason live and talks about his songwriting.
“I came to Jason’s music in a slow and cautious way. When I first heard about him, it was years and years ago when he had just come into the scene. Few had heard of him, but there was a buzz around him in the underground scene. I remember going to see him play at some shitty bar in Toronto. He was late. He had driven something like 8h from Chicago to Toronto and barely made his set. Weirdly enough, the things I remember from that show were not the music, but little things like the way he wore his baseball cap so low, as though he was trying to entirely cover his eyes with it. And I also remember the way he chewed his gum through out the set. He had this almost animated and intense way of chewing his gum that was hard not to notice. At one point in the set, he spit out the gum and kicked it into the audience while still playing his song. Funny what we remember of certain performances.
But that was a long time ago, and I have come to have a great respect for Jason as a songwriter. He shed all the comparison to Will Oldham and showed himself to be a great songwriter. When it comes to writers whose works can be defined by their honesty and sincerity he is amongst the finest. There are musicians who dig deep and bring out gems, but he was able to dig just a little deeper and pull out some very very honest material. And maybe that’s what happens when you tap a little too much into yourself — you open something in yourself that is hard to close. I still continue to go back to the album Didn’t It Rain. One of the albums that continue to stand the test of time. Love the rawness of the recording and the performances on that album. The songs are so simple yet so memorable. And the lyrics… Well the lyrics are quite something. Some of the best stuff he wrote in my humble opinion.
Jason Molina was a great, great songwriter. It is sad to lose him.
Pre-Order Farewell Transmission: The Music of Jason Molina: Amazon; iTunes
Jason Molina: Website; Secretly Canadian; Graveface Records
Magnolia Electric Co.: Website; Secretly Canadian; Facebook
Barzin: Website; Facebook; Twitter